Piles and piles of snow and biting cold temperatures, which nipped Utahns for many days, was the story recorded in the February weather book at the Salt Lake International Airport.
A total of 27.5 inches of snow fell during the month, the second snowiest February on record, with the largest amount, 27.9 inches, in February 1969, said William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service.Seasonal snowfall totals 57.9 inches, just 1.3 inches short of the normal amount. During the Alaskan Clipper's stay in Utah, a record 11.9 inches of snow fell Feb. 1 and 2 at the airport, making it the snowiest 24-hour period of any February. The prior record was 8.8 inches on Feb. 10 and 11, 1984. A total of .43 inches of moisture was recorded Feb. 1; the previous record was .19 in 1970.
An inch or more of new snow fell during eight days of the month, tying a record set in 1939.
Snow remained on the ground 66 days, from Dec. 22 to Feb. 25, the fifth longest period. The longest time was 86 days, Nov. 17, 1930, to Feb. 11, 1931.
Precipitation was 1.57 or 118 percent of normal. However, accumulation for the water year that began last Oct. 1 is only 4.93 inches or 77 percent of the normal 6.41 inches. A total of 6.40 inches was recorded by the same time in 1987 and 4.64 inches in 1988.
While heavy snow began falling Feb. 1, temperatures during the Clipper didn't begin plunging until Feb. 4. Average monthly temperatures were 8.8 degrees below normal for the fifth coldest February on record.
The coldest February was 1933 when the average monthly temperature was 16.2 degrees. Many daily temperature records were tied or broken during the past month.
Average temperature was 25.2 degrees during December, January and February, making it the coldest average temperature in 16 years - since 24.9 degrees was logged in 1972-73. Normal temperature is 30.4 degrees.
During the same three months, 33 days of measurable snow was recorded at the airport. That ranks third behind the record 36 days during the winters of 1932-33 and 1948-49, Alder said. An average amount is 21 days.
An average amount of snow for the three months is 38.0 inches. A total of 49.4 inches of snow fell during December, January and February. That amount ranks fourth behind the record 74.4 inches during the same time in 1948-49.
The last February snowstorm in the Salt Lake area was on the 19th, when 2.4 inches of snow was logged at the airport.
The level of the Great Salt Lake rose 1.2 inches during the last two weeks of February. The lake was 4,206.60 feet above sea level on March 1, with the high point for the Feb. 10 through March 26, 1988, period being 4,209.55 feet.